Evoking the Memory by the Only ‘Spirit’ for the Prevention and Healing of Chronic Pain and Suffering

(سورة العنكبوت آية ٤٥)

Be informed that Allah has ordained for the believers to recite from the Quran prior to Salat. Then, to establish Salat consistently and as perfectly as possible. Be assured that when Salat is done as it should be, it shall disallow from engaging in debauchery and abominable acts. What is even greater than that is that Salat evokes Allah’s remembrance. Be assured that Allah is forever attentive to your actions and will give back accordingly’. 

(My translation of the scholarly reflections of Ayah 45 of Surah Al-ankabut) [i]

[i] The Holy Quran


In the English language, the term “pain” is derived from Latin “poena,” which translates to “penalty.” Scientifically, however, pain serves a crucial function in our bodies, acting as a warning signal when something isn’t quite right. It functions akin to our body’s personal alarm system, prompting us to pay attention and take action. Usually, addressing the underlying issue causing the pain can alleviate it. However, persistent pain indicates that the problem has not been effectively resolved, classifying it as chronic pain.

The predominant approach in modern medicine to address chronic pain is to kill it, literally, hence the name painkillers. Though these medications provide relief, they come with significant drawbacks. Painkillers induce chemical alterations in the brain and may even lead to the loss of brain cells, particularly affecting areas associated with cognition, learning and memory.[1]

Fortunately, this is not the only approach available as the religion of Islam provides us with its unique approach that not only effectively prevents and treats chronic pain and suffering but also does so without any side effects. This distinctive approach entails infusing life into humans using the sole readily available spirit. To understand how this spirit operates within humans and its attributes, we must first explore two interconnected concepts: the nature of human life and the concept of death, as per Islamic tradition.

The Two Weighty Species الثقلان) (

Islam teaches that all parts of nature—animals, plants, mountains, rocks, and stars—function according to specific commands that were encoded in their memory by Allah, the Creator. These divine codes ensure their existence and promote harmony with their environment and other elements of nature. These creatures operate on instinct, meaning they act without the need for conscious thought or decision-making; their actions flow effortlessly and naturally. Additionally, this instinctual behavior signifies their constant awareness of and submission to the Creator, as they faithfully follow the encoded directives.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule: mankind and Jinn species. The Jinn, is a creation invisible to humans, also inhabit Earth, with infamous Satan belonging to this specie. Unlike other creatures, these two species must consciously choose to activate their encoded memory and require a reminder tool to evoke this innate knowledge.

When individuals from these species opt not to activate their innate codes, it means they will live life in accordance with their own desires and whims. Such a choice is not to be taken lightly because it will surely create a dangerous imbalance in nature. That is why both mankind and Jinn are referred to as weighty creatures in the Quran, indicating their potential to cause significant upheaval on Earth.

The Two Human Elements and the Word ( كن)

According to Islamic tradition, human life on Earth began with Adam. However, Adam’s life didn’t commence on Earth but rather in Heaven. His beginning stands apart from the rest of humanity (except for one person as will be shown later), as he didn’t have parents, infancy, or childhood. Instead, he emerged as a fully-grown man, approximately 37 meters in height and four meters wide.[2]

So, how did Adam come to life? In brief, Adam was directly created by Allah, combining two elements: clay (طين), an inanimate substance, and the Spirit (روح), an animate element. On commands from Allah, the angels gathered clay from various parts of the Earth and Allah Himself shaped it into physical form. Then, Allah infused an invisible Spirit from Him into this material form and spoke to it saying “Kun” meaning, “Be alive” and so Adam became alive. 

Subsequently, Allah created his female partner in a similar manner. This unique pair was endowed with the necessary commands and knowledge to live harmoniously and happily in Heaven. However, they disobeyed a specific command due to the deceit of Satan. Despite this, they repented, and Allah forgave them, making Adam a prophet in the process. Eventually, Adam, his female partner and Satan were all descended from Heaven to Earth to commence the trial of mankind. [3]

On Earth, human population growth occurs through the process of procreation, as we all know. Yet, there’s an unseen step in this process of child-making that we wouldn’t know about without being told by divine revelation. According to prophetic tradition, during the early stages of pregnancy, an angel is sent to the mother to breathe an individual spirit into the fetus in her womb.

However, there was one exception to this usual process of procreation in human history: the prophet Jesus. Jesus was born without the male element necessary for human conception. Instead, Jesus was conceived by the direct word of Allah which Allah cast (I am using the terminology used in the Quran) directly to Miriam, the mother of Jesus and by the blowing of a spirit from Allah into her vagina through the angel Jibreel (the Holy Spirit).  That is why Jesus is referred to in the Quran as the ‘word of Allah’ and the ‘spirit from Him’. This extraordinary birth resulted in a unique baby boy who spoke fluently to his mother while still in her womb and to others as a newborn.

In addition to his unusual birth, Jesus was granted permission by Allah to perform miracles beyond the abilities of ordinary humans. For instance, he could cure congenital diseases, raise the dead, and even create life by shaping birds from clay and breathing life into them. Despite these miraculous abilities, the Quran emphasizes that Jesus is not divine or the son of God, as taught in some Christian denominations. Instead, the Quran asserts that Jesus is human, drawing parallels between his beginning and Adam’s. see the table below. 

Adam and Jesus 

Rest of mankind

Allah’s direct involvement in the creation process.

The word of Allah spoken directly by Him.

The spirit element blown by Allah Himself in the case of Adam and by the angel Jibril in the case of Jesus.

No male or female ancestry for Adam and no male lineage for Jesus.

One of a kind.

Allah’s indirect involvement by automating the process through the usual conception method.

No word involved in the creation but made available to everyone in the form of the holy books, as will be explained shortly.

Spirit blown into fetus by unknown angel.

Must have ancestry (both male and female lineage).

All of the same kind in terms of birth.

As Jesus is no longer with us, having been ascended to heaven to prevent his killing, Allah has bestowed upon us a spirit to perform similar tasks to those carried out by Jesus until his promised return to fulfill his unfinished mission.

The Two Types of Spirit ((الروح

The literal meaning of words in the Arabic language tells us a lot about the nature and essence of the word. The Arabic word, “Ruh” translated as spirit in English means ‘to bring to life’, or an “animating force”. The meanings of words that share the same triliteral root include ampleness, comfort, soothe, cheerfulness, euphoria, wind, energy, motion and strength.

As for the connotation of the word spirit, there are two types of spirits that are described in Islamic sources. The first type refers to the spirit by which human life was established, which we discussed above. This kind of spirit is the enigma that Allah has declared is of His own affairs. Thus, believers are cautioned from speaking about it more than what is made obvious from the narratives of the Quran and Hadith. Although this type of spirit is invisible to the naked eye, its presence is unmistakably evident, as its departure from the human body signals death.

The second type of spirit denotes life-sustaining properties, embodied in every holy book (but must be in its original language) revealed by Allah to mankind throughout history. Islam teaches that the only surviving spirit of this type is the Holy Quran. The other holy books like the Torah of Moses and Injeel of Jesus have undergone extensive loss and distortion over the passage of time as the mission for their preservation was entrusted to people. Furthermore, these books were only intended to be the spiritual source for a specific generation and time.

Meanwhile, the Quran has escaped this fate because Allah took the mission of its preservation upon Himself; moreover, this Quran is meant to be the spiritual source for all coming generations until the end of time. In contrast to the first type spirit, Islam encourages contemplation and exploration of the Quran’s depths, which are rich in both visible and invisible dimensions. When this spirit is absent from one’s life, they are deemed to be “living dead,”.

The capabilities of the Quran as spirit, can be likened to the abilities bestowed upon Jesus, as they both hold the same esteemed titles. Jesus is characterized as the “word” of Allah and the “spirit” from Him that was breathed into his mother by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the Quran is referred to as the speech of Allah and the spirit from Him, conveyed covertly to Prophet Muhammad by the Holy Spirit.

However, the Quran and Jesus differ in their respective actions. Jesus changed the natural laws of the visible world, whereas the Quran’s specialty lies in transforming the invisible spiritual traits of the human “Nafs,”, that are common to all people. Thus, while Jesus’s miracles were readily confirmed by sight by those who witnessed them (seeing is believing), the Quran’s miracle can only be validated through personal experience (feeling is believing) Now, what exactly is the human Nafs?

The Two Human Selves or Nafs  (نفس)  

Like all Arabic words, the term “Nafs” carries various literal meanings, including self-same, valuable, person, essence, and intention. As for its connotative meaning, I will provide explanations from two notable Quran scholars. The first is from an ancient era—Abdullah Ibn Abbas (619–697 AD). The other scholar is the contemporary Quran scholar Ash-Sharawi (1911–1998)

Abdullah explains the term “Nafs” mentioned in the Quran, in Surah Az-Zumar, Ayah (42), as representing the human’s two selves: the self of the spirit by which life is established and the self of the mind, which pertains to discernment. Ash-Sharawi, in his interpretation of the same verse, distinguishes between the two aspects of human actions: the voluntary and the involuntary

From these explanations, we can infer that the human body hosts two invisible selves. I will refer to them as the wilful-Nafs and the automated-Nafs. The automated-Nafs is responsible for involuntary functions, while the wilful-Nafs governs voluntary actions. The automated-Nafs follows the encoded memory imparted by the Creator, whereas the wilful-Nafs must make a conscious choice to activate its own encoded memory using the sole available spirit, the Quran. Choosing to activate this encoded memory will allow for both selves to exist harmoniously and for the person to be in a state of true life.

However, if the wilful-Nafs chooses not to activate its encoded memory and rejects the use of the spirit, it will be unable to change any of its default traits common to all people. The wilful-Nafs possesses dangerous traits, such as being a stress machine in a perpetual state of hysterical panic and having an insatiable appetite for material accumulation and consumption. Such traits will give rise to dissonance between the two selves, making one a living dead. To understand the danger of being in a state of both life and death at the same time we look at sleep and its different types as per Islam.

The Two Types of Death

As life arises from the combination of various aspects of the human, death occurs with the disconnection of these same parts. In Islam, there are two types of death: major death and mini death. Major death occurs when the automated-Nafs departs the body, leaving it a corpse that requires disposal. The departure of the automated-self also entails the departure of the wilful-self, as he latter cannot exist without the former. Major death can occur due to natural causes or by external harm, such as killing.

On the other hand, in mini death, it is the wilful-self that leaves the body, rendering it a living machine with limited physical movement, as seen in sleep. Unlike major death however, the departure of the wilful-self during mini death does not impact the functions of the automated self, as it continues operating based on its programmed memory. Mini death can occur naturally, such as in spontaneous sleep, or it can be induced, as in the different states of unconsciousness using drugs.

Sleep is always likened to death because it involves a disconnection between certain aspects of human existence, earning it titles like “the brother of death” or “mini death.” In Islam, sleep holds significant importance, as indicated by Hadith and the Quran. It is taught that during sleep, the wilful-self is freed from the body and enters the realm of the deceased. The purpose of this release can be understood by examining the Quranic terminology used to describe sleep. In the Quran, sleep is referred to as “Subat” (سبات), which connotatively means to rest. Literally, “Subat” means to relieve, separate, or detach. Additionally, in Surah Az-zumar, Ayah 42, Allah uses the verb “Tawafa” (توفى) when referring to sleep. Connotatively, “Tawafa” means ‘to cause to die,’ while literally, it signifies counterbalance, evenness, and conclusion. Both literal and connotative interpretations reveal that sleep serves as a regulatory mechanism to maintain the body’s equilibrium. The separation of the wilful-self from the body allows both selves to rest and reset. When they are in a state of rest and harmony, the body experiences no pain or suffering as happens during normal sleep.

However, not all sleeps are made equal. For example, sleep induced by medical anesthesia or illicit drugs does not provide the body with the same benefits as normal sleep, despite potentially relieving pain. In induced states of unconsciousness, the body rests but does not reset. The difference lies in the nature of contrived unconsciousness. It is an outside-in procedure, involving the violation of the body by the introduction of a foreign substance. This disrupts communication with the automated-self, preventing it from carrying out its usual duties on the body. As a result, both the automated-self and wilful-self are forced into a state of rest until the drugs wear off. Disrupting the involuntary functions of the automated-self is dangerous, which is why medical anesthesia is always administered in a highly controlled environment due to its potential lethality.

Although both normal sleep and induced unconsciousness are states of being both alive and dead at the same time, they differ greatly. To see how different, we can compare normal sleep and induced unconsciousness to death by natural causes and death by killing. Although both types of deaths lead to the grave, they are vastly different. Death by natural causes is an inside-out process initiated by Allah, where the automated-self leaves the body without the need for causing defects or harm to the physical body. In contrast, death by killing is an outside-in process, involving damage and harm to the body that renders it uninhabitable for the automated-self, compelling the automate-self to depart the body. Moreover, the consequences of each type of death are starkly different. Death by killing, especially premeditated murder, carries significant social and legal repercussions. In contrast, natural death has no legal or social ramifications.

However, despite all the benefits of normal sleep, we can’t rely on it for relieving chronic pain and suffering when needed most because it can’t be brought at will. We cannot also rely on induced unconsciousness because of its inherent dangers and cost. So, the only remaining method is to use the spirit to enhance life so one is in a true state of life. Achieving this without the aid of the Holy Quran is indeed an impossible task.

Life is Reminiscing and Remembering

As mentioned before, human life is established by the cohesion and integration of various aspects of the human being. This encompasses not only the unity of the two invisible selves within the physical body but also the alignment of their mental and emotional orientation. According to Islam, the automated-self is in a constant state of awareness of its creator and obedient to His commands. On the other hand, the wilful-self is born with inherent awareness of the Creator, as Allah has directly communicated with every human self and introduced Himself to them in their earliest stages of existence. However, this innate awareness is often forgotten due to parental influence, which introduces man-made religions. Unless an individual consciously chooses to recall this memory using the Quran, they are considered a living dead, as the two selves are not unified in belief.

The Quran serves as the sole tool capable of reviving this ancient memory, hence its descriptors of Zikr and Zikra, meaning the embodiment of reminiscence and reminder. When one listens to the Quran, the person recognizes it as the speech of God. The Quran captures the attention and revitalize the existing spirit within the body, leading to feelings of comfort, serenity, and ease. Additionally, it evokes nostalgia and reminiscence in the wilful-self, often resulting in tears, perhaps because it recalls its original communication with its creator, Allah Himself.

Salat is True Life

These mentioned effects of the Quran on the people stem from the alignment of both the wilful-self and the automated self, a process known as Istikama. Istikama in Arabic literally means to straighten up, rise, align, be balanced, endure, and persist. It’s interesting to note that the literal meaning of the word ‘Istikama’ shares the same meaning with the word ‘resurrect’ in Latin or ‘Anastasia’ in Greek. According to Wikipedia:

“Resurrection, from the Latin noun resurrectio -onis, from the verb rego, ‘to make straight, rule,’ plus the preposition sub, ‘under,’ altered to subrigo and contracted to surgo, surrexi, surrectum (‘to rise,’ ‘get up,’ ‘stand up’) plus the preposition re-, ‘again,’ thus literally ‘a straightening from under again.'” 

When both selves align through the Quran, all parts of the human become connected and in complete harmony. Thus, such a person is considered fully alive. Achieving the state of Istikama is as miraculous as bringing the dead back to life as Jesus did. Furthermore, when the two selves align, engaging in Istikama deeds becomes possible as the connotative meaning of Istikama means “to be virtuous and moral.” There are many Istikama deeds, but one deed encompasses all of them: the daily salat. The ritual of Salat holds special significance in Islam, being referred to as the “backbone” of the religion. Salat is not only an Istikama act in itself but also the tool that makes it possible to engage in moral acts and prevents engaging in immorality and debauchery.

The Denotation of Salat

The profound impact of Salat on regulating human behavior and emotions can be understood by exploring its literal meanings. The triliteral root of the word Salat is (ص ل ا) sad lam alif (SLA) or (ص ل و) sad lam waw (SLO) (SLO is the same linguistic root for prayer in the Aramaic language).[4]

In the Arabic language, the term Salat is derived from two forms. The first form is As-Sallaya (الصَّلاية), which refers to a mortar used for pounding raw materials when making perfume or medicine. The second form is Sal-la (صَلَّى). Here are some examples of how this form of the word is used in daily language.

  1. Sal-la Al-asa alla anar,  صَلَّى العَصَا على النارِ  means straightening the crookedness of a log or stick on fire.
  2. Sal-la Al-lahm,  صَلَى اللَّحْمَ means barbecuing meat over  fire.
  3. Sal-la yadahu or nafsahu, وصَلَّى يَدَهُ بالنارِ  سَخَّنَها means warming one’s hands of body by the  fire.
  4. Asala’ and Asali, والصِّلاءُ والصَّلَى  اسمٌ للوَقُودِare terms for fuel.
  5. Masalai,  المصالي شَرَكٌ يُنْصَب للصَّيْدrefers to traps set up for for catching birds or other animals, implying  the restrain and confinement of the human conscious self and body to perform certain acts.
  6. The word ‘Salat’ also means verbal supplication and invocation.[5]

These meanings explain the powerful effect of Salat on immoral behavior that is mentioned in Surah Al-ankaboot, Ayah 45, on. This Ayah is the one mentioned at the start of this essay. They also explain why Salat is a compulsory practice for children from the age of 7 so that children grow with immunity against immorality.

Finally, salat not only changes immoral behavior but also has a gentle and comforting effect on human emotions. In Surah Al-Hijr, Ayah 97-98, Allah teaches believers to turn to salat as a coping mechanism during times of adversity. It’s reported that during moments of crisis, the prophet Mohammed sought solace in salat, finding comfort and ease in its practice. He would ask Bilal, his personal Mua’azin, to call for salat, saying, “Let us find the comfort and ease we need through Salat.”

The Connotation of Salat

Salat refers to the five daily prayers Muslims must perform. Despite its very unique significance, it is not different to any other task in that it can be executed either effectively or poorly. As such, the closer one adheres to the correct method of performing Salat, the greater its impact on the individual. Incorrectly performed Salat fails to yield the desired benefits mentioned earlier. Hence, Salat is always associated with the verb “Akim,” “Akama,” or “Ekama” (أقام)(اقامة), meaning “to do justice to” and “to perfect.” It also conveys the notions of permanence and consistency. Therefore, Salat performed meticulously and consistently integrates all aspects of human existence—physical actions, mental invocation and emotional fervor. This leads us to the concept of “Khoshou” (خشوع).

When exploring the translation of the term ‘Khoshou’ on various English sites, you’ll encounter explanations like ‘to concentrate,’ ‘to pay attention,’ or ‘to focus.’ Some even interpret it as a form of trance. While these descriptions capture certain aspects of Khoshou, they don’t fully capture its essence. By examining its dictionary definitions in Arabic language, we can gain a clearer understanding of Khoshou. These meanings include ‘humble,’ ‘humility,’ ‘to yield,’ ‘lean on,’ ‘surrender,’ ‘give in,’ and ‘let go.

These definitions reveal that Khoshou is more of an emotional state than a mental exercise. It entails letting go and expressing emotions such as shedding tears or weeping. Thugh, engaging with emotions during Salat is the surest way to maintain a focused mind.

To illustrate the real-life impact of performing Salat with complete devotion—physically, mentally, and emotionally—I’ll recount the story of the well-known scholar Urwah ibn al-Zubair, who resided in Medina and passed away in 713 AD. Renowned for his ability to always perform Salat with Khoshou, Urwah was invited for an official visit by the Khalifa, the Muslim ruler based in Damascus, where he served as one of the Khalifa’s trusted advisers

Setting out on the journey with his eldest son named Muhammed, Urwah encountered a foot swelling along the way, arriving at the Khalifa’s Palace limping. After examination by the Khalifa’s doctors, they advised amputation as the only treatment option. Despite their recommendation, Urwah refused sedation, citing its prohibition. Instead, he proposed a unique strategy for pain relief: undergoing the procedure during Salat, specifically during the Sujud (placing the forehead on the ground).

Following his suggestion, the doctors commenced the procedure while Urwah was in prayer, and successfully amputated his foot without any outcry. However, when they reached the final stage involving boiling oil to staunch the bleeding, Urwah naturally lost consciousness.

During his unconscious state, news arrived that Urwah’s eldest son, who had accompanied him on the journey, had tragically passed away in an accident at the palace’s stable, struck by a horse. Upon regaining consciousness, Urwah received the Khalifa’s condolences for both the loss of his foot and his son. In response, he expressed gratitude, acknowledging Allah’s generosity for preserving four limbs while taking only one, and for granting him seven children while taking just one. This story highlights the miraculous effects of Salat on both physical and emotional pain.

Salat is Reminiscing and Remembering.

To facilitate this emotional engagement during Salat, it’s highly recommended to engage in preparatory Quran recitation beforehand. This helps cultivate a state of mindfulness and nostalgia, making it easier to connect emotionally during Salat. Salat is also the only ritual that must include the recitation of the Quran for it to be fulfilled. So, the Quran is made easy to remember by heart compared to other Holy books. In fact, the Quran can be memorized in its entirety by anyone, whether young or old, male or female, Arab or non-Arab. In contrast, the Torah, in its original form and language, cannot be memorized fully. It’s reported that only four people were able to memorize it in full: Moses, Jesus, Joshua (Moses’ assistant), and Uzair. Moreover, when we examine the rules of Salat, we find that the recalling of the Quran and other prayers is the one act that cannot be left out.  while all other aspects of salat can be circumvented in situations of physical incapacitation or sickness that prevent movement.

Invoking one’s memory in Salat is as important as being unaware in sleep. In fact, when we compare Salat to sleep, we can’t help but notice that Salat is the exact opposite to sleep, just as life is the opposite to death. Here is how they differ: First, in sleep, the wilful-self is released from the body, putting both selves at rest from voluntary activities. Salat confines both selves, impelling them to engage in implied restrictive activities. Second, sleep puts one in a state of unawareness, while Salat makes one truly mindful and conscious. Third, sleep is a impulsive process with no choice needed from the human, while Salat is voluntary and requires a will. Salat can replace most of sleep time as a regulatory mechanism to ensure steadiness of the human, but no amount of sleep can replace the effects of Salat on the traits of the wilful-self. Finally, and greatest of all, sleep connects with the realm of the dead, while Salat connects with the Ever-Living God.

Salat for Invoking Allah’s Remembrance of Oneslef

Salat is referred to as Zikrul Allah (ذكر الله) because it serves to draw Allah’s attention towards the individual. Salat offers the opportunity for a direct encounter with Allah Himself. According to Hadith, Allah turns His Majestic Face towards the believer during salat which emphasize the closeness one can attain to Allah.

To grasp fully how close one can get to Allah during Salat,  we examine its origin. Unlike other Islamic rituals, Salat was ordained in the invisible realm through direct communication from Allah during the journey of Israa and Miraj (الاسراء والمعراج). This journey began when Prophet Muhammad was transported by angels from Makkah to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine, and then ascended to the invisible realm, where he had the privilege of meeting Allah directly. As a reminder of this Divine encounter, Muslims recite At-tahayat (التحيات) in every Salat, which is the greeting exchanged between the Prophet and Allah during that meeting.

During this divine meeting, Prophet Muhammad initially received the ordination of 50 daily prayers, which was later reduced to five upon the recommendation of Prophet Moses, whom he encountered during the journey. Prophet Muhammad also met with all the other prophets and messengers sent throughout human history. They all joined Prophet Muhammad in performing Salat, with him leading the prayer, symbolizing a unifying religious act ordained for all people in every Divine Message sent by Allah to mankind.

Salat is Self-gratification not Self-denial

Salat’s effects also extend to one’s perspective on material gains and permissible pleasures. As life becomes invigorated by the spirit, individuals grow less dependent on material possessions and can easily do without many material pleasures. This isn’t about self-denial but rather about feeling satisfied and fulfilled through spiritual means or inside-out satisfaction. In Islam, this state of being is known as Zuhd (زهد)

Unfortunately, some mistakenly equate Zuhd with asceticism or associate it with Sufism. However, Sufism emerged centuries after the Prophet’s death and has no direct connection to Islam. Zuhd, on the other hand, involves no struggle with the self, no craving for material possessions, and importantly, it doesn’t suppress human feelings toward material pleasures but rather enhances them. Thus, Zuhd isn’t about self-annihilation as some claim, but rather it represents the highest form of self-preservation. The less one depends on the material, the less pain and suffering one will experience.

A vivid example of true Zuhd can be found in the life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Despite being able to live a materialistic life, the prophet mainly relied on salat and particularly the night salat as his primary source of energy. He ate sparingly, possessed few material belongings, and led a simple lifestyle. Aisha, his youngest wife, mentioned that in their household, they only lit a fire for cooking once every two months, relying mainly on water and dates for sustenance.

Even in matters of intimacy, the Prophet didn’t indulge excessively. Although physically capablethe Hadith reports that the prophet Muhammed had the physical strength and sexual stamina of 40 men- he chose spiritual fulfillment over physical desires. Aisha recounted that when it was her turn to be with the Prophet, he would often excuse himself from the marital bed to engage in worship, demonstrating his prioritization of spiritual matters over physical ones.

The Prophet also had very few material possessions, despite being allocated a generous allowance as the leader of the believers. Therefore, the Prophet could have lived a very affluent life if he had chosen to. However, he willingly chose to distribute his wealth to those in dire need. It’s reported that he never kept money or possessions in his house that he had no use for on that day.

Despite his minimal dependence on material possessions, the Prophet was deeply involved in worldly affairs as the leader of the Islamic state. He diligently fulfilled his duties, walking in the markets to assess people’s livelihoods, offering guidance and assisting widows, orphans, and the needy. He managed his household, mended his clothes, repaired his shoes, and milked his own animals. Despite his numerous responsibilities, his reliance on the spirit rather than material possessions allowed him to excel in all areas of life. The prophet literally lived off salat and the Quran.

The Azan (الأذان)

The Azan serves as the call for Muslims to gather for Salat. Within the Azan, one of the verbs used is Hayya (حَيَّ), often translated as ‘hasten to’. However, this translation overlooks the word’s root meaning, which conveys ‘to live’ or ‘life’. Considering this root meaning, my own translation of Hayya within the context of Azan would be something like, ‘come zealously and without delay to true life, Salat’, or ‘those truly alive come zealously and promptly to Salat’, or ‘true life is attained by fervently attending Salat without delay’, or ‘you haven’t truly lived if you don’t attend Salat eagerly and on time’, and even, ’embrace Salat eagerly and punctually to experience true life!’. Only such translations capture the essence of how Salat makes one feel—truly alive.


[1] Zachary Snitzer, 2014.The Effects of Painkillers on the Brain and Body.

[2] Hadith of the prophet.

[3] Refer to the reflections of the prominent Islamic scholar Ash-sharawi on the creation of Adam and Hawwa. تفسير قصة خلق حواء فى القرآن الكريم للشيخ الشعراوي البقرة Ayah 22 from minute 5 onwards.

[4] The word “Prayer” in Aramaic is Slotha, from the root SLA, the same as the root of Salat. Kirk Kimball, 2002. Behold the Man: The Real Life of the Historical Jesus. p.157.

[5] Online Arabic dictionary: see the verb صلا.